effective people managers

10 habits of highly effective people managers

Skilled staff are often given management responsibility, only to discover that managing people brings with it a whole new set of expectations and challenges. The good news is that there are habits and practices all managers can develop in order to excel in their role and take their team from good to great.  So here are 10 tried and tested habits of highly effective people managers…

1 — Listen and act

One of the big mistakes that managers make, because they are in a position of control and power, is that they dominate the conversation. They don’t use their listening skills. Managers should hone their ability to listen to ideas, questions and responses from their reporting staff. If your people feel heard, they will feel more motivated to try to solve problems themselves. If they feel ignored, they won’t share their ideas and simply wait for you to tell them what to do.  It’s about empowering your people to be the best at what they do…all the time.

2 — Feedback regularly

Teams thrive on constructive and consistent feedback. Develop a habit of providing useful feedback to your team members – and make it a two-way process!  It’s a really productive way of learning how to get the best out of your people as you see how each of them respond to the feedback you are giving them.

3 — Open doors to communication

It’s impossible to manage staff well without strong communication on all levels.  So adopting a clear and open approach in this regard, ensures everyone is on the same page about objectives, direction, and expectations. Develop a habit of inviting questions and feedback from your team with regular 1-to-1s and team meetings.

4 — Provide succession planning

Changes to personnel can have a wider impact on teams and businesses. Effective people managers will have an eye for the future. If you are due to move on, be replaced or introduce new management to your team, take care to plan the process carefully to ensure a seamless transition and manage any changes with sensitivity as to how they might affect others. 

5 — Reward good work

Encouragement, reward and recognition are huge motivators in the workplace. As a manager, you ought to celebrate what you want to replicate. Develop a habit of rewarding and honouring good work, exceptional results and behaviour which embodies your organisation’s values.

6 — Practice mentoring

You don’t have to be a full-time life coach or mentor, but a key element of a manager’s role is to get the best out of their reporting staff. Practice mentoring your team members; discover what drives them and support them as they work towards goals. Help them to critically reflect on work and provide encouragement.

7 — Set goals

Setting clear goals is a vital element of people management. Some employees thrive with a broad vision to work towards, and others with minute details. As a manager, you should practice setting understandable and motivating goals, and reiterate them often, then constructively measure success against them.

8 — BE the example!

Lead from the front. It’s likely that your role will be different to those you’re leading, but as a manager it’s important to set an example of the qualities you look for in your team.  Exemplify integrity, hard work, honesty and other values you want to see in your team.

9 — Show transparency

Trust is essential for a team’s success, and the road to trust is transparency. Be open about decision making, own your mistakes and work to correct them. Transparency doesn’t mean oversharing — be professional, but develop the practice of demonstrating honesty to your team.

10 — Practice emotional intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (or EQ) has had lots of press in recent years and remains a highly sought-after management quality. Put simply, it’s the ability to recognise your own and others’ emotional state and act accordingly. 

Begin by trying to be aware of others’ emotions and motivations in your conversations, and also practice becoming aware of how you yourself are feeling.  

Kirsty Craig Associates provides a range of masterclasses that are designed to help managers be the best managers going.  View our full range of courses here or ask about our on-demand courses that we can run at your offices.  

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